Ariel’s SafeSkills resource is delivering important behavioural changes that are supporting schools to safeguard their pupils.
Positive impacts can be seen from a recent evaluation of our grooming and sexual exploitation programme. In all of the schools involved in this trial, teachers reported that children were more open about their existing risk taking behaviour, especially the risks they take on line. This was allowing them to identify young people who were at risk amongst those they would have not previously identified as such and to put in place measure to provide additional support and, where appropriate, engage parents. For example one teacher reported:
“All staff felt that the children may not have previously disclosed the information they shared within the ‘SafeSkills’ sessions. For example, many of the children spoke openly about their online habits and worryingly, 29 of the 57 (51%) of the children in Y5 admitted to befriending an unknown person online (often through online gaming), with little or no understanding of the hidden agendas that these people may have”.
Pastoral Lead & Safeguarding Officer, A Merseyside Primary School
There is evidence that this more open discussion of risk taking behaviour has also led to some positive changes in young people’s behaviour; particularly in deleting ‘friends’ from their online profiles because they were unknown to them. During the sessions in which children practice questioning the motivations of others they talked about getting online requests from people they didn’t know asking, “Invite me to the party” and one young person referred to a “fella who always tries to join our group”. After the SafeSkills ‘motivations and intentions’ sessions 20% of young people reported deleting people from their online profiles.